Keep seeking, keep asking, keep knocking
This month I had the privilege to travel to LA/Orange County and the UK/Wales. Neither place has hardly a thing in common other than several friends and opportunities I don’t deserve, including stepping foot into (and back out of again) prison courtyards and sharing my story with new brothers and sisters in gorgeous, sheep-filled hills of mid-Wales.
On the last day of the retreat where I was speaking, I was told we had 45 minutes before we had to head back towards civilization. That was all the incentive I needed. As briskly as I could manage, I hiked up a trail to one of the highest points in Wales. Reaching the top as a sweaty, exhilarated mess, I enjoyed 45 seconds of shouting my heart out to God while simultaneously hoping no one else had the same loud idea. The view was otherworldly. God began reminding me I was standing on land that had once experienced an outlandish revival.
During the spring of 1904, a young Welshman named Evan Roberts was repeatedly awakened at 1:00 a.m. He met with God until 5:00 a.m. The Welsh revival followed. Churches were packed for prayer meetings. In a prayer meeting for young people, Pastor Joseph Jenkins asked for testimonies. A young girl named Florrie Evans, who had only been a believer a few days, rose and with a trembling voice said simply, "I love Jesus with all my heart." The other young people's hearts were melted. A powerful spiritual awakening that brought 100,000 people to Christ was under way.
I was thankful when I realized no one had witnessed my spiritual hilltop spectacle, but especially that God had reminded me of something I would have otherwise never considered.
While heading back into civilization from the tiny Welsh hillside valley we were in, my hosts convinced me (it didn’t take much) that fish and chips were a must. The Shire Horse boldly advertised; British Born & Bred - sounded real enough to me. Once inside, they did not disappoint. Battered fresh Cod paired with mashed peas along with salt & vinegar chips hit the spot. Jordan was our waitress. At one point I asked how her day was going, and we began a friendly conversation. I asked her how we could be praying for her; which caught her as off guard just like everyone else I had asked while in the UK. It seemed everyone had the same response to my common question - stopping dead in their tracks, clueless how to proceed or process. I’d usually ask if there were needs in their family, life, or if I could just pray a simple blessing over their them.
Not once was I rejected - contrary to the idea Brits are hardhearted agnostic cynics shut down to Jesus or anyone claiming to be hanging out with Him. We prayed God would move mightily in Jordan’s life. After praying, I asked about any physical pain. “Well, my back is hurting. Wait, it was just hurting! What in the world? Before you prayed, my back was in pain. Now it feels fine!” She was stunned. It was as though God answered my prayer before I even had a chance to pray it.
We ended up meeting two of Jordan’s work mates - one who was instantly healed of a thumb/hand problem - who turned out to be even more shocked than Jordan. She repeatedly stated/asked (in a lovely British accent), “I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it. Is this some kind of a trick?” To which I reassured her it was no gimmick but rather Jesus was real, alive and loved her. I was able to speak words of life and encouragement to her and was able to pray over and encourage Dan.
I’m still growing, still learning. But I sensed more than anything on my trip to the UK that Jesus was inviting back a child-likeness in my walk. Simplifying faith and love, seeking to please no one but Him. I was floored that God would give me a message, a thought, so simple that even I could get it. Be encouraged - God is strengthening hearts (like mine and yours) who need reminding of how close and how caring He is.
Keep seeking, keep asking, keep knocking.